Organic fertilizers

by M. Arjoca,

To grow, develop, bloom or to bear fruits, the plants need nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, substances which a good soil must have in sufficient quantities. Besides these, the plants need also: calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper etc. Their presence makes the soil fertile. In real situation, (nothing is perfect), it can happen that the plants can not benefit from one or few substances like these. There are many chemical fertilizers in commerce (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium: N-P-K), but the advantages of using organic fertilizers are:

Different materials can be used as organic fertilizers: the manure from some animals, grass, clover, alfalfa, beans (green manure), coffee grounds, liquid coffee, maize, algae, ashes, compost etc. You can make liquid fertilizers from some plants.

Cow manureThe manure- from cows, horses, chickens, rabbits, goats, guinea pigs, can be very well used as fertilizer either on the ground or incorporated in soil in autumn when are no more plants in garden.You can use it also as compost material. Do not apply fresh manure directly to plants because it burns them. Rich in nourishing substances, the manure must stay away about 6 months before you can use it.

Keep in mind that the substances from manure will be incorporated in soil and in the plants you will gone eat. So what the animals eat is important. There are opinions that the pigeon droppings are cancerous. Don’t use feces from cats, dogs, pigs and men because they can transmit dangerous pathogens to humans.

Here it's a recipe of manure tea which can be used immediately.

Manure tea - in 10 liter (10 quarts) water mix maximum 1Kg (2.200 pounds) cow manure. From this solution pour around each plant some quantity. The quantity depends on the plants size. If the plants are smaller don't pour much. For example, for a mature pepper it's necessary maximum a cup of liquid (250 ml - 250 quarts). For a younger tomato pour maximum 500 ml (500 quarts) and for a mature one maximum 1 liter (1 quart). When you start to use this kind of solution it is better to apply a small quantity because you can burn the plants. Because of this reason don’t use this solution for seedlings.

ComfreyComfrey tea - the comfrey is very rich in potassium and other necessary substances (calcium, iron, nitrogen, magnesium) and can be used as fertilizer in many ways (mulch, compost, solutions etc.). Here is a recipe:

- in a bucket put a good bunch of plants, lay something heavy on to keep them down and cover with water. Cover the bucket with a lid and let it stay for 2-5 weeks, until the comfrey rots. (The process emanates bad smell). From the resulted solution take a cup and dilute it in 4 liter (1 gal) water. You can sprinkle on leaves or you can pour around the plants.

NettlesNettles tea - the nettles are rich in nourishing substances (calcium, iron, copper, nitrogen) and like the comfrey they can be used as fertilizer:

- take a good handful of nettles and put them in a bucket. Lay a stone or something heavy on to keep them down, and then cover with water. Let them stay for about 3-4 weeks (it emanates bad smell). Before using it take 1 part nettles liquid and mix it with 10 parts water.

Algae tea - if you live near the sea you can benefit from this rich fertilizer. Before you put them on the ground or to compost the algae must be washed to eliminate the salt . Here is a recipe of tea:

- collect a good handful of algae to cover half a bucket. Wash them and cover with water. Let it stay about 3 months. Before using it take half a cup from the resulted solution and dilute it in 10 liter (10 quarts) water. If it's not enough diluted it can burn the plants. You can use it as foliar or as soil fertilizer.

Ashes on garlic bedThe ashes - contain a lot of potassium and calcium carbonate so it can be used as fertilizer, but only the ashes from burnt wood or different plants and natural materials. Don’t use the ashes from toxic products, plastic, charcoals etc. You can scatter the ashes in a thin lay, few mm (less than 0.5") on the ground and where it’s possible you can dig slowly. This must be done every 2 or 3 weeks. Don’t use more because it burns the plants. In a small quantity the ashes can reduce the soil acidity.